Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good Wines at a Great Price

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Quattro Mani Montepulciano dAbruzzo
  • Quattro Mani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
I drink wine every day and not just as a part of my job. To me, a meal without a glass of wine just doesn't cut it. OK, occasionally a beer works better, but you get the idea.

With that in mind most of the bottles I buy cost around $10. That's my price point, though I'll splurge now and again. One of my favorite value labels is called Quatro Mani which translates from the Italian as "four hands." The brainchild of importer Domaine Selects, the idea was to highlight the skills of four different winemakers.

First up was an Italian red made from the Montepulciano grape grown in Abruzzo. I really liked the 2007 version, but if anything the 2008 is even better. Fermented in stainless steel this wine sees no oak, resulting in a fresh and fruity wine that is utterly charming. It's bursting with smooth fruit aromas and flavors, highlighted by silky strawberry, currant and raspberry. Goes great with pizza, pasta, pork and more and at $9.99 a bottle you can afford to drink it everyday.

It's sister wine is a white made at the Movia winery in Slovenia just across the border from Italy. The grape is Tocai Fruilano, but you won't find it named on the label. It's a variety seldom seen outside of western Slovenia or Northern Italy and not to be confused with Tokaji, the great Hungarian dessert wine. Apparently the European Union was afraid of that confusion and decided Tocai could not appear on the label. The only reference to the grape here is a lower case phonetic variation in brackets [toh-kai].

I absolutely loved the 2007 vintage, a unique wine with layers of unusual but enticing flavors that evolved in the glass. To my mind, it was the best white wine buy of the last year, but now it's gone. Not to worry. The 2007, while a fascinating wine, was not to everyone's taste. The flavor profile could be a little overwhelming, but the 2008 should have much broader appeal. While it still has some of the undertones that made its predecessor so compelling, there's a backbone of refreshing citrus fruit flavors that make for a much more user-friendly wine. Goes great with seafood, light pastas and poultry and again it's only $9.99.

Happy drinking (in moderation, of course).

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